Sagittal plane bending moments acting on the lower leg during running Academic Article uri icon


  • Sagittal bending moments acting on the lower leg during running may play a role in tibial stress fracture development. The purpose of this study was to evaluate these moments at nine equidistant points along the length of the lower leg (10% point-90% point) during running. Kinematic and ground reaction force data were collected for 20 male runners, who each performed 10 running trials. Inverse dynamics and musculoskeletal modelling techniques were used to estimate sagittal bending moments due to reaction forces and muscle contraction. The muscle moment was typically positive during stance, except at the most proximal location (10% point) on the lower leg. The reaction moment was predominantly negative throughout stance and greater in magnitude than the muscle moment. Hence, the net sagittal bending moment acting on the lower leg was principally negative (indicating tensile loads on the posterior tibia). Peak moments typically occurred around mid-stance, and were greater in magnitude at the distal, compared with proximal, lower leg. For example, the peak reaction moment at the most distal point was -9.61+ or - 2.07%Bw.Ht., and -2.73 + or - 1.18%Bw.Ht. at the most proximal point. These data suggest that tensile loads on the posterior tibia are likely to be higher toward the distal end of the bone. This finding may explain the higher incidence of stress fracture in the distal aspect of the tibia, observed by some authors. Stress fracture susceptibility will also be influenced by bone strength and this should also be accounted for in future studies.

publication date

  • February 2010